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The Citizens Bank Park “Pistachio Girl” . . . is a white nationalist

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A lot of ballparks have colorful vendors. We’ve talked about the Spring Training/Diamondbacks’ vendor who does the “Lemonade, lemonade like grandma made!” thing in the past. The Tigers used to have a hot dog guy who sang opera as he vended. There’s a “Beer Pirate” in Pittsburgh. The list goes on and on, with many of them featured over at MLB.com in this article last year.

One of the vendors featured there was the “Pistachio Girl” of Citizens Bank Park. Her name is Emily Youcis and she’s popped up in the fringes of sports news a few times. I’ve not been to a game at Citizen’s Bank Park, but I’ve heard people talk about her. She’s a lot like any of these other colorful vendors. Some people love her, some people are somewhat annoyed. She doesn’t even sell pistachios anymore because the Phillies discontinued them so she hawks Cracker Jack. Life goes on. Either way, she came in second in the MLB.com poll for top vendor.  Check her out in action:

Despite it not being baseball season, she’s in the news today. Seems that, however colorful her vending style is, she has a favorite color: white. And that led to some difficulties for her over the weekend. From Philly.com:

A well-known Phillies vendor called “Pistachio Girl” for her melodic hawking of peanuts and Cracker Jack at Citizens Bank Park found herself in a radically different arena this weekend — in the middle of a violent street fracas outside a white-nationalism conference that she was attending in Washington, D.C.

She was an observer of the conference, not an attendee, but she tells Will Bunch of the Philadelphia Daily News that “she’s been in thrall with the so-called ‘alt-right’ movement for about 10 months.” Which she calls “a white identity movement.” She said “This doesn’t mean that we hate anybody — we simply want to find our own identity as Americans … as white Americans, and find our own culture.”

Not everyone considers “white identity movements” to be simple searches for identity, and thus you may not be surprised to learn that there were protests of the conference. The protests got ugly and Youcis got spray paint sprayed on her hair. Others suffered minor injuries which is unfortunate, no matter what ideology one harbors. One may protest whatever one desires as vehemently as one desires, but one hopes the line is drawn at physical violence.

One does wonder, however, how her Cracker Jack sales are going to go next summer given her newfound notoriety. Because, no matter what the headlines are saying about it lately, white nationalism is not exactly a super popular ideology.

Giants remove pitching coach Dave Righetti

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After 18 years, 12 winning seasons, seven postseason runs and three World Championships, Dave Righetti is no longer a pitching coach for the Giants. He was removed from his post on Saturday, when the team announced a few reassignments as they shake up their coaching staff. Heading into the 2018 season, Righetti will serve as special assistant to general manager Bobby Evans, former bullpen coach Mark Gardner will step into a similar special assistant role to “assist in pitching evaluations,” and former assistant hitting coach Steve Decker will take a special assistant role in baseball operations.

According to MLB.com’s Chris Haft, Righetti was the longest-tenured pitching coach in the big leagues. He helped shape the careers of notable Giants’ aces like Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain — all Cy Young contenders (and, in Lincecum’s case, a two-time winner) at various points in their careers. He was there to assist Ryan Vogelsong during his stunning mid-career comeback in San Francisco. He helped newcomers like Chris Stratton and Ty Blach flourish even as the team stumbled to the bottom of the division. He was there to take the credit when a sterling rotation clinched the Giants’ 56-year, drought-snapping championship title in 2010 — and, when things went so horribly south in 2017, he took the blame as well.

Hardly anything went right for the Giants’ pitching staff in 2017. Madison Bumgarner was shelved after sustaining a serious shoulder injury in a dirt bike accident, Johnny Cueto couldn’t shake a cluster of blisters on his right hand and Mark Melancon found it difficult to justify a $62 million paycheck after pitching through an arm injury to four blown losses/saves and a 4.50 ERA. It would be a lot for any pitching coach to stay on top of, and given the team’s rapid descent from 2016 postseason contenders to last-place finishers in 2017, it’s not surprising that Evans felt the need to switch things up.

Successors have yet to be named for Righetti, Gardner or Decker, though Murray hears that the Giants could have interest in former major league pitching coach Jim Hickey. NBC Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic adds that Evans is searching for someone to “put a new voice” on the pitching staff and will likely target someone who, like Righetti, brings considerable experience to the role.